Among the moves unveiled during the recent Investor Day program for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, shifting the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group into the Dodge brand perked up the ears of driving enthusiasts.
The change means the Viper high-performance sports car returns to the brand where it was born in 1993. Also, throughout SRT’s history the majority of its products have come from the Dodge stable.
With Dodge now positioned as the Chrysler Group’s performance brand, bringing SRT into the fold is a natural move, says Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group CEO.
“Dodge is a performance brand, it needs to have SRT attached to it,” Marchionne said on May 13 while attending a transmission plant opening event in Indiana.
He added: “So in the next five years you will see the portfolio purified and strengthened by removing the minivan, the Avenger, the replacement of the Journey with something else that matches the DNA of Dodge. But that needs the completion at the top end with SRT. And SRT will complete Dodge. It will make it the specialist performance piece of the performance brand.”
SRT will maintain its current momentum under the leadership of Dodge Brand President and CEO Tim Kuniskis. The passionate and popular Ralph Gilles, who served as SRT brand chief, continues in his roles as Chrysler Group design chief and head of motorsports.
“He’s still going to be leading the design of the cars,” Marchionne said. “That’s a huge strength in that field.”
Asked about the Viper, Marchionne said: “It’s going to be the top end of the extended Dodge family. It will be a Viper but managed by Dodge. The fangs will always be unique.”